Mulberries are the fruits of mulberry trees and are related to figs and breadfruit.
The trees are traditionally grown for their leaves — mainly in Asia and North America — as they’re the only food that silkworms eat.
They carry colorful berries — most commonly black, white, or red — that are often made into wine, fruit juice, tea, jam, or canned foods, but can also be dried and eaten as a snack.
Due to their sweet flavor, impressive nutritional value, and various health benefits, mulberries are gaining popularity worldwide.
This article reviews mulberries, including their nutrition and benefits.
Mulberries nutrition facts
Fresh mulberries consist of 88% water and only have 60 calories per cup (140 grams).
By fresh weight, they provide 9.8% carbs, 1.7% fiber, 1.4% protein, and 0.4% fat.
Mulberries are often consumed dried, similar to raisins. In this form, they contain 70% carbs, 14% fiber, 12% protein, and 3% fat — making them fairly high in protein compared to most berries.
Here are the main nutrients in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of fresh mulberries:
- Calories: 43
- Water: 88%
- Protein: 1.4 grams
- Carbs: 9.8 grams
- Sugar: 8.1. grams
- Fiber: 1.7 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
Fresh mulberries consist of 9.8% carbs or 14 grams per cup (140 grams).
These carbs are mostly simple sugars, such as glucose and fructose, but also contain some starch and fiber.
Mulberries have a decent amount of fiber, corresponding to 1.7% of their fresh weight.
The fibers are both soluble (25%) in the form of pectin and insoluble (75%) in the form of lignin.
Fibers help you maintain a healthy digestive system, decrease cholesterol levels, and reduce your risk of many diseases.
Summary: Fresh mulberries have about 10% carbs in the form of simple sugars, starch, and soluble and insoluble fibers. They’re fairly high in water and low in calories.
Vitamins and minerals of mulberries
Mulberries are rich in many vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C and iron:
- Vitamin C. An essential vitamin that is important for skin health and various bodily functions.
- Iron. An important mineral that has various functions, such as transporting oxygen throughout your body.
- Vitamin K1. Also known as phylloquinone, vitamin K is important for blood clotting and bone health.
- Potassium. An essential mineral that may lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Vitamin E. An antioxidant that protects against oxidative damage.
Summary: Mulberries contain high amounts of both iron and vitamin C, as well as decent amounts of potassium and vitamins E and K.
Other plant compounds of mulberries
Mulberries are rich in plant compounds, such as anthocyanins, that contribute to their color and beneficial health effects.
The most abundant ones include:
- Anthocyanins. A family of antioxidants that may inhibit oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol and provide beneficial effects against heart disease.
- Cyanidin. The main anthocyanin in mulberries is responsible for their black, red, or purple color.
- Chlorogenic acid. An antioxidant abundant in many fruits and vegetables.
- Rutin. A powerful antioxidant that may help protect against chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Myricetin. A compound that may have a protective effect against some cancers.
The amounts of plant compounds in mulberries depend on the variety. This results in different colors and antioxidant properties.
Deep-colored and mature mulberries are richer in plant compounds and have a higher antioxidant capacity than colorless and immature berries.
Summary: Mulberries contain several plant compounds, such as anthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, rutin, and myricetin. Deep-colored and mature berries are richer in these compounds than colorless berries.
Health benefits of mulberries
Mulberries or mulberry extracts may be beneficial against several chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Mulberries may lower cholesterol
Cholesterol is an important fatty molecule present in every cell of your body. However, elevated blood cholesterol levels are linked to increased heart disease risk.
Suggested read: Strawberries: Nutrition facts and health benefits
Animal studies show that mulberries and mulberry extracts can reduce excess fat and lower cholesterol levels. They may also improve the ratio between LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol.
Additionally, some test-tube experiments suggest that they reduce the formation of fat in the liver — potentially helping prevent fatty liver disease.
Mulberries may improve blood sugar control
People with type 2 diabetes are at risk of a rapid rise in blood sugar and need to be careful when they eat carbs.
Mulberries contain the compound 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ), which inhibits an enzyme in your gut that breaks down carbs.
Therefore, mulberries may be beneficial against diabetes by slowing down the increase in blood sugar after meals. Studies on people are needed before any firm conclusions can be reached.
Mulberries may reduce your risk of cancer
Increased stress in your body has been shown to induce oxidative damage in cells and tissues, which is associated with increased cancer risk.
For hundreds of years, mulberries have been part of traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy against cancer.
Some researchers now believe that these reputed cancer-preventive effects may have a scientific basis.
Animal studies indicate that antioxidants in mulberry juice can decrease oxidative stress —potentially reducing cancer risk.
Keep in mind that the same applies to fruits and vegetables in general. No evidence suggests that mulberries reduce cancer risk more than other fruits or berries.
Summary: Mulberries may lower cholesterol levels, help prevent fatty liver disease, and improve blood sugar control. They also decrease oxidative stress, which may reduce cancer risk.
Adverse effects and individual concerns of mulberries
Allergy to mulberries is rare, but pollen from mulberry trees has been reported to cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
Suggested read: Carrots: Nutrition facts and health benefits
If you’re sensitive to birch pollen, you may also react to mulberries as a result of cross-reactivity.
Summary: Mulberry allergy is rare, but people sensitive to birch pollen may experience allergic reactions to mulberries.
Mulberries are colorful berries that are eaten both fresh and dried.
They’re a good source of iron, vitamin C, and several plant compounds and have been linked to lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and cancer risk.
These berries have also been used in Chinese herbal medicine for thousands of years to treat various illnesses, though evidence to support their effectiveness is weak.
Mulberries have a sweet and delicious taste, are packed with nutrients, and have a range of potential health benefits — which are all important for building a healthy diet.